27 Feb ; Sri Lanka could play their main strike bowler Lasith Malinga in the next group match against Kenya to get his rhythm back ahead of the co-host’s fourth World Cup game with holders Australia, their team manager said.
“We will consider him for the next game because we need to get him into his rhythm ahead of the game against Australia next Saturday,” Anura Tennekoon, Sri Lanka’s team manger, told Reuters on Sunday.
Malinga has been rested for the first two Sri Lanka World Cup Group A games because of a sore back.
The 1996 World Cup champions won the first game against associated member Canada by 210 runs in Hambantota last week, but lost the Pakistan game by 11 runs in Colombo on Saturday.
“Malinga was rested as a precautionary measure,” Tennekoon said. “We don’t want to take any chance with him because he is our key bowler. Malinga is fit but we don’t want to take that extra one percent and play him,” Tennekoon said.
Malinga was one of the leading performers in the last World Cup, taking four wickets in four balls in a match against South Africa. Sri Lanka lost in the 2007 Barbados final to Australia.
“We can say that we missed Lasith a bit,” Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said after losing the match against Pakistan.
“Lasith is improving. I think he is going to be back with us very shortly. We just don’t want to risk him over this match.”
Sri Lanka play group whipping boys Kenya on Tuesday in Colombo before the toughest match in qualifying against Australia on March 5.